Ma'aliya-Hamar conflict flares up; dozens killed in East Darfur

ADILLA/EL FULA (23 May) - Dozens of tribesmen died, others have been wounded, in renewed clashes between the Ma'aliya and Hamar tribes in El Guruf area, 45 km north of Adilla town in East Darfur on Thursday afternoon and on Friday.

An eyewitness told Radio Dabanga that the conflict started when Ma'aliya farmers captured a Hamar element as he entered their cattle farms in El Guruf on Thursday. The farmers handed the Hamar member over to the command of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), which is guarding the oil field in Surga Ummhadit.

This provoked the Hamar to attack the Ma'aliya on that same afternoon in El Guruf, resulting in the deaths of dozens, and wounding of others, on both sides. The source reported that the Ma'aliya counter-attacked on Friday in Abu Maskr area, in the state of West Kordofan. A yet unknown number of people were killed or wounded on both sides.

He confirmed that the battles were still ongoing between the tribes on Friday evening.

Osama Jibril, a leader of the Ma'aliya, revealed to Radio Dabanga that 20 people, including two women, were killed, and 16 others injured, in the battle on Thursday. He could not verify the number of casualties on Friday.

“These renewed clashes between tribes caused the cancellation of the reconciliation conference between Ma'aliya and Hamar,” he stated. The conference is scheduled on Sunday in El Fula, the capital of West Kordofan.

At least 50 people were killed and wounded in clashes between Ma’aliya and Hamar tribesmen in East Darfur and West Kordofan in the beginning of last April. According to OCHA this week, some of the “38,000 displaced people in West Kordofan have fled recent fighting between the Hamar and Ma’aliya tribes in North and East Darfur in March and April”.